Saturday, February 23, 2008


recently, i have been asking God what it means to live as a family.  for me, family is mom and dad and brother. so what is "family" to 350 orphans?  family is no longer so much about blood relation but more about people who are important to each other and offer each other love and support.  my question is, how do i fit into this family here in zimpeto, mozambique?  

when i first arrived 2 months ago, i was easily falling into the role of "friend" because i so love 
hanging out with the kids and youth. but i feel like God is calling me to be more than just a "friend" to these kids.  they have lots of friends already.  what they lack are mothers and fathers.  proverbs says to "teach a child in the way he should go and when he is older he will not depart from it."  i want to earn a place of respect with these kids so that i am able to speak truth into their lives. . . to teach them in the way they should go.  

let me introduce you to some of my "kids":

mateus is 17 years old.  in the past year or so, he discovered that his mom lives in the city so in october he chose to go live with her.  she practices witchcraft and disappears for days at a time leaving him to care for himself and his siblings living at the house.  he's an amazing young man who really loves the Lord.  he likes to sing/rap and dreams of starting a dance team to minister to people in the city.  

pai is 11 years old.  he came to live at the iris center in march of 2007.  when i first met him last may, one of the only things he could say in english was "pai love sarah.!"  he quickly won my heart!  pai has a hard time sharing me with the other kids though and gets pretty jealous.  he really loves one-on-one time with me and has become my helper when i bake cakes or cookies . . . which i do a lot of here!

manuel and nelson both work in my garden cutting the grass and watering the plants so they have a key to my garden gate.  they are 17 and 18 years old.  many afternoons i come home to find them sitting on my patio doing their homework.  they both speak amazing english and i love sitting and talking to them.  i think i have more of a "big sister" relationship with them because they love to get my opinion on things going on with them or at the center.  

inacio is 10 years old.  he lives in my dorm.  he is full of personality!  he knocks on my door multiple times every day to see if he can come play in my garden.  everytime i walk walk out to the play ground, he quickly finds me.  inacio makes the cutest faces and the funniest noises.  i just love being around him because he always makes me laugh!

i look forward to introducing you to more of my family!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

update on riots

the riots seem to have broken up.  there are cars on the streets again but still no chapas (buses).  late last night, an agreement was made to re-discuss the price increase on chapas and around 7:30 this morning, a couple of chapas passed the center with a police escort firing off tear gas.  throughout the morning we heard a few random gun shots but everything appears normal now.  i have not left the center yet but a couple of missionaries have and they said it was like driving though a war burnt up, buildings vandalized, remains of burnt tires that had served as road blocks the day before.  

thank you for your prayers yesterday and please continue to cover us!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

riots in maputo

this morning at about 7:15 (just after midnight in georgia) as i went to get breakfast from the kitchen, i was greeted by a pastor who i am friends with named solomon.  in portuguese, he began to tell me about something going on out on the streets.  i was impressed that i picked up bits and pieces of his story before i got him to talk to me in english!  he had been on a bus on the way to the center this morning and the bus was stopped because of a roadblock so he had to walk the rest of the way.  as we stood outside of the kitchen, we could hear crowds of people yelling in the distance.  

last week, owners of the public buses known as "chappas" met to discuss a price increase.  the price was 7.5 meticai, which is equivalent to about 30 cents in us dollars, and because of rising fuel costs they wanted to increase the fare to 10 meticai or 40 us cents.  in my eyes that is nothing...i think riding a bus to the city for less than half a dollar is amazing.  you'd never find that in the states!!!  but when i think about the fact that most families live off of one us dollar a day, that extra 10 cents is a big deal.  today is the day the prices increase was to go into affect.  the mozambican people are not happy and have organized riots all over the city.  in america, you would see unhappy customers boycotting the bus or protesting with signs.  but not here.  the people have blocked the roads and are refusing to let any bus or car pass.  if a car tries to drive threw, they throw rocks at it.  

i stood on the soccer field with many of our kids watching everything taking place outside the walls of the center.  outside of the main gate of our center, about 100 yards down the road, rioters rolled tires out into the street and set them on fire sending up a black cloud of smoke.  looking to the left down the street i see the same thing about a quarter of a mile down.  apparently people are rioting all over the city with larger and larger mobs the closer into the city you get.  at one point, our guards opened the front gates.  a few seconds later a car came speeding in being chased by rioters.  it was one of our kitchen workers.  he had been stopped earlier by the mobs and forced to leave his car and walk into the center but then decided to go back and get his car.  our older teenage boys go to school in the city.  this morning, not knowing about the riots going on, the minibus left the center to drive the boys into the city.  they were stopped by rioters throwing rocks at the bus.  the boys were allowed to exit the bus and the driver had to leave it there.  we are praying the bus isn't destroyed in the chaos.  all of our boys are okay and will walk back to the center later today.  multiple times, trucks full of police and soldiers drove by firing rubber bullets in an attempt to break up the crowds.  however, the people only got more riled up and began throwing rocks at the police and setting more fires.  the police eventually left and after a bit of cheering, the crowds calmed down some.  a friend in the city phoned another missionary and said she heard on the news that 2 people had been killed not far from our center.

for now, things appear a lot calmer.  we've gotten all of our kids into the church to watch a movie.  looking out the window of my house i can see lots of people walking by outside the center and they appear to be going about their normal work.  however, there are still no cars on the streets.  

here are some things you can pray for:
please pray for the people to calm down and the riots to end.  
we are safe here in the center.  pray that safety is preserved.  
pray that the boys who are out in the city will be able to safely return soon.  
pray for protection over our minibus that was left in the city.